App helps teenager stop burglary suspect

Jan 19, 2012
Tech

Find My iPhone is pretty handy app for fans of Apple’s iOS platform. Made available to all users through iCloud as part of iOS 5, the app allows users to track their devices when they’re lost or stolen – and on more than one occasion, they’ve stopped real robbers. According to a report from The […]

Find My iPhone is pretty handy app for fans of Apple’s iOS platform. Made available to all users through iCloud as part of iOS 5, the app allows users to track their devices when they’re lost or stolen – and on more than one occasion, they’ve stopped real robbers.

According to a report from The Seattle Times, Find My iPhone was responsible for recovery of thousands in stolen electronic equipment, after a teenager used the software to locate a stolen iPhone and lot of other stolen goods around it.

The home of 14-year-old Max Malkin and his parents was robbed Tuesday, but the loss of about $4,000 in electronic equipment only lasted the family around 15 minutes after police arrived on the scene. That’s because Malkin, armed with a laptop and his mother’s iPhone in the hands of an alleged thief, was able to track the movements of the suspect and report them to police.

One officer stayed with the Malkins in their home to act as “quarterback,” relaying information to officers in the field as Max was able to track the whereabouts of the thief using Find My iPhone. Eventually, the cops caught up to the suspect in a bus station. To seal the deal and put the finger on the culprit, Max called the phone – which started to ring in the duffle bag of the suspect.

The whole investigation lasted roughly 15 minutes, The Seattle Times reports.

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Max Malkin’s story is a shining example of why all iOS owners should get comfortable with Find My iPhone. Setting up the app takes only a few seconds – you log in with your Apple ID and you’re pretty much done – and tracking it is easy to do from any computer connected to the Internet with the help of iCloud.com. From there, Apple’s service brings up a map that shows your iPhone or iPad’s whereabouts, as well as the option to send a message to the person who found the device and even remotely wipe its data or lock it. The app is great if you happen to lose track of a device, and if it’s stolen, it has its uses – as Max Malkin discovered.

You can quickly and easily set up Find My iPhone with the app and then delete it, since all you need to do is register your device with iCloud. It’s not foolproof, of course, since the phone needs to be actively connected to a Wi-Fi or 3G signal, but for all the good that Find My iPhone can do in times of emergency, every iOS user should take a second and set it up. If you need more incentive, just check out a few of the Find My iPhone reviews on iTunes; several of them tell stories of the app saving money, property and lives.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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